BOOKS & GUIDES
Yellow marks my best memory for what may be an eleven pitch 5.8 with good solution pocket holds in gneiss.
Red marks the west ridge, said to be a quality 5.7 route. An advertiser's photo on page 10 of West Kootenay Rock shows the face behind the west ridge and it looks like the best climbing of all. The right hand east ridge is the easy route.
Gladsheim may be the highest peak in the cirque, Putnam estimated 9,250 feet and the Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook gives 2827 meters. The first recorded ascent was by the same 1964 team that climbed Asgard. The approximate route along the "exposed" west ridge is lightly marked with yellow.
Mount Gimli (9,000 ft) is the gemstone. A monolith almost on the scale of Half Dome but with an easier approach. Gimli, the dwarf in the Hobbit, carried a Norse style battle axe. Gimli, the monolith, looks like a big sharp axe blade. There are routes ranging from 3rd class to a 5.12d.
Dag Peak (8,800 feet) was first ascended in 1927 along "ridge bordering Mulvey Creek (Putnam 1971). The 3,000 north buttress of Dag Peak was probably the first grade VI route to be done in the Interior Ranges; with a bushwack approach. Spokane super-climber, John Roskelley put it up even before Rowell-Jones-Quamar, on North Howser, or OhNo! Wall ,in the Battle Range. (Roskelley, better known for Himalayan climbs, also made the second ascent of the North America Wall.) Other Grade VI routes are completed on Dag now. For example, Riding Skinfaxi, an all free grade VI, 5.11d.
Nisleheim is probably the second easiest peak to approach, after Gimli. I marked all the routes shown in the West Kootenay Rock Guide as a way to show what is left to be done. From the left, 5.8 (red), 5.10 (lavender), 5.9 (green), and 5.7 (yellow).
Just south of Valhalla Provincial Park is Mount Wilton, visible from the town of Winlaw on Highway 6 (termed "Frog Peak" by Lussier). From the town of Passmore, drive the trunk road up Passmore Creek, then left up Airy Creek for a couple kliometers, then left again up Boulder Creek and a long climb to near treeline. If the logging roads are passable, then this would be a very short approach for a "Half Dome like" north face. The Lussier-Dool route is a ten pitch, 5.10, A2 . The FA thought the steep, clean, upper part might go free at 5.12 with cleaning. The lower part has less continuous cracks, ledges, and is very lichen covered. They also thought: "The upper part of the face has the potential for many high quality variatons"(David Lussier,CAJ,2000,p123).
When climbing in the Valhallas, the Slocan Bluffs should not be missed. These lakeside sport climbs require one of the shortest approaches in British Columbia. Park on the east side of the defunct lumber mill and walk in along the old paved road. 80 routes are listed in the West Kootenay Rock Guide.
Before you leave your car, build a chicken-wire barricade to keep the snafflehounds, mice, and porcupines from chewing open your break lines, wiring, and tires. Bear country is no place to get stranded. Locals climbers are rumored to carry their own rolls of chicken-wire because there is not enough at many trail-heads. Recommended! Only enough wire for three cars was found at the Gimli-Mulvey trail-head, August, 2011.
When the chicken wire is already spoken for at the trailhead, there is another trick. Day hikers will park back down the road a bit, hoping that the porcupines are habituated to location, not make and model. Risky. I've seen the trouble makers hard at work in broad daylight.
Grizzly bears are the Valhalla Range's main claim to fame. A movie about an orphaned grizzly cub was produced in the early 1980s (The Bear). At the Mt Gimli trail head, it might be a good idea for small teams to wait at the cars until others show up and then all hike in together. The plastic arm-rest of the parking lot privy looked like a grizzly tried to take a bite. My wife thought I was exaggerating, until she went for a look. Because of grizzlies, parties of four are now required for hiking in to Mount Temple (Banff NP).
mountain goats love to crowd the bivouac site. As they begin their habitual daily climb of Gimli's East Ridge, they will begrudgingly crowd climbers at the first belay for the Southeast Ridge of Mt Gimli. Once up on the East Ridge, they also like to knock rocks down on both climbers and their own kids. Recently, a 300lb male goat killed a man in the Olympic Mountains of Washington; in a very creepy and efficient way!
Valhalla Provincial Park has provided a green heli-privvy at the Gimli bivouac site. However, the goats and snafflehounds have not learned how to use it, so the high camp smells like a barnyard. The animals will want your food too, so bring a bear-proof food vault.
Browse More Classics in Valhalla Range
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Valhalla Range:
Featured Route For Valhalla Range
South Ridge 5.8 International : Canada : ... : Mount Gimli
HISTORY In 1974, a Kamloops expedition choppered in with three children, a sitter, and enough friends to climb everything worth climbing. This route was attempted, and all the members listed above did the first two pitches before weather forced a retreat. That september Peter Rowat and Peter Koedt returned to finish the ridge. I hear Southeast Ridge getting the most name usage, but the reported name was South Face in the Canadian Alpine Journal (1974). Peter Rowat and Co made the fir...[more] Browse More Classics in International